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Advancing Asian road safety

Measuring road safety performance is essential to be able to follow progress regarding the road safety-related UN Sustainable Development Goals. Today, for many Asian countries there are gaps between national official statistics and estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO) published in the Global status report on road safety. Better understanding data and improving knowledge on road safety performance is essential to be able to design strategies and measures to effectively reduce the number of road casualties.

A regional road safety observatory can help countries improve their understanding of the issues, raise awareness, share experience and best practice, and encourage actions to reduce fatalities and injuries across countries in the region. Such observatories are formal networks of government representatives that share a similar culture and safety challenges, and the desire to take actions to improve road safety in their countries. It is meant as a forum to share experiences, data, and information regarding road safety policies and action, to conduct joint studies, to learn from each other and to facilitate cooperation.

Following the successful establishment and operation of the Ibero American Road Safety Observatory (OISEVI) since 2012, several countries and international organisations have suggested that a similar initiative would be very beneficial in other regions. Africa started a process of establishment of a regional observatory in early 2018, and launched the governance structure of the African Road Safety Observatory (ARSO) in November 2018. The ITF, the World Bank and the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) signed in 2018 a Memorandum of Understanding with the objective to work together towards the establishment of regional road safety observatories. The three organisations have begun work with Asian governments and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) towards the establishment of a regional road safety observatory for Asia.

The workshop held in Singapore on 20-21 March (photo) is the starting point of collaborative efforts across Asian countries. The objectives of the workshop are to: demonstrate the economic, social and financial cost of road crashes; outline the concept of a road safety observatory for the region; shape the way towards the establishment of a road safety observatory in Asia; foster the development of a synergistic environment to empower countries to collect useful and timely information to address the road safety ongoing epidemic; and demonstrate the mutual benefits of a road safety observatory in Asia. 70 participants from 17 countries are expected to attend the workshop.

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